June 24th, 2010

A Pocket Full of Murder

Saundra Mitchell on Mystery

Today I'm happy to host fellow author Saundra Mitchell a.k.a. anywherebeyond, whose debut novel Shadowed Summer was nominated for the YA category in this year's Edgar Awards -- quite an achievement for a first novel!

Shadowed Summer is a haunting and poignant tale of a teenage girl in a small Louisiana town, who struggles to solve the mystery of a young man's death and unravel its connection to her family. Not only is Iris's story compelling in its own right, but Saundra is a beautiful writer with a talent for immersing the reader in the atmosphere of her stories and making you feel as though you are right there.

Welcome, Saundra!


by Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer (Delacorte Press, 2010)

Though not every book is a mystery, I believe each one should contain some. We could write stories where the character wakes up and the end of the day is a foregone conclusion -- but it wouldn't be very interesting.

People say that books need conflict, and I'll argue that conflict comes from mystery. There's the push and pull of a character with answers refusing to give them. Or, when a character thinks she knows how to solve a problem, but is unaware of the poison pot she'll unleash with her solution -- conflict!

The tingle and excitement of a romance comes from mystery, too. There's a reason most romances tell the story of how the couple got together -- all the mystery of finding out who someone is and who you are with them is what drives the conflict and the chemistry.

Mystery certainly worked for R.J. in Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter a.k.a. Knife -- their magic was gone, and faeries were going mad -- and they certainly didn't know why. And now in the sequel, Wayfarer, Linden's going to find out that getting the Oakenfolk's magic back is more than a matter of heading off to the local Enchanteria and borrowing a cup of ensorcelldust.

Everything is mystery -- the world, the way our bodies work, science and faith work every day, chipping at it. And I think the best books are the ones that explore their world the way we do our own: solving one mystery at a time.

Shadowed Summer
by Saundra Mitchell
Available now in paperback

You can buy Saundra's book through Indiebound, Book Depository, Powell's, or Amazon.